GFM Network News


A soil core showing the dry layer from one- to three-foot depths. In this situation, the only plant-available water is in the top foot. Roots will not penetrate the dry layer to access the moist soil beneath. Sufficient rain must fall to wet up the dry layer before the deeper moisture comes into play.

Les Henry: Soil moisture and rain

One plus one does not always equal two

Soil moisture as a soil management issue has finally come into its own with the advent of tech savvy young folk using soil moisture probes to get real information in real time. Thanks to those who provide me with information to help make the annual, three-province, Soil Moisture Map as of freeze-up. To make a […] Read more

Friendly Acres Seed Farm’s Kevin Elmy is the founder of Cover Crops Canada and the author of Cover Cropping in Western Canada.

It’s all about making healthier soil

Get soil chemistry and organisms back on track

What do you want to change about your cropping operation? That’s the first question farmers need to think about as they look into the relatively new world of regenerative agriculture (regen ag). It’s a big subject area, with plenty of variables, layers and “twists,” say agronomy consultants who work with producers on implementing regen ag […] Read more


Les Henry: The ground beneath our feet

To understand soil, we must understand what is beneath it

Hang on tight — this could be a rough ride. I will take you down some very deep gopher holes and hopefully stretch your mind a bit in the process. We are not talking about those claustrophobic tubes that run underground in places like Toronto or New York or about criminal activities. We are talking […] Read more

“For a long time, producers have been using automation and ECUs to control their application pieces. We’re starting to see that come into the tillage units now.” – Kris Wright.

Seedbed-sensing system optimizes tillage tool operation

Case IH’s Soil Command brings remote-sensing tech to the world of tillage

Remote sensing has become part of the furniture on a great deal of farm equipment over the past several years. Whether used for data collection, feedback or variable-rate functions, the tech has become almost synonymous for precision agriculture. Why it matters: The seedbed-sensing system delivers real-time feedback from shank-mounted sensors to the tractor cab, informing […] Read more


How to get the best results from your tillage tools

Farm equipment leaders from Case IH, Lemken and Salford Group offer their top tips on diagnosing and removing compaction areas and tillage tool efficiency

What do agronomists and equipment companies have in common? At one time or another, both talk to producers about how to improve production on their farms. Use the correct tillage tools and make the appropriate adjustments to them to ensure you’re getting the best results. Agronomists do this because, well, that’s their explicit job description. […] Read more

Figure 2. A field of Weyburn loam soil association.

Les Henry: The importance of naming soils

Let’s peel away the fancy stuff and boil it down to something useful at the farmgate

[UPDATED: Oct. 30, 2020] Naming (classifying) soils is not the same as naming plants or animals. Plant classification can be a purely scientific endeavour and they name a plant by genus (Triticum = wheat) and species (Triticum aestivum = bread wheat). Classifying soils is a complex affair not always understood. In this short piece, we […] Read more


This operator holds the NutriScan soil diagnostic tool against a soil sample in the field. A soil analysis is available 
within minutes.

A real-time soil analysis in minutes

New technology brings diagnostic tool to the field

Are you ready for in-field soil testing technology that in a matter of minutes can give you a read of what nutrients are available or perhaps, more importantly, deficient for your crop? Here comes NutriScan. That’s the technology Concentric Ag and its plant nutrient division, ATP Nutrition, is offering to western Canadian farmers this fall, […] Read more

Les Henry: Geography of acid soils in the Prairie provinces

It’s important every farm knows where it’s at on the pH scale

Acid soils have a low pH. The H is for hydrogen. The p means it is a negative logarithm, which means the lower the number the more acid. The logarithm means that pH = 6 is 10 times more acid than pH=7. Soils can be acid from the original geologic material or they can become […] Read more


Hardware to control downforce uses the seeder’s existing hydraulic system.

Precision Planting tools maximize emergence and profits

SeederForce and SmartFirmer provide accuracy and key soil measurements

A common problem that exists in seeders is the one downforce setting for the whole machine. A system like this can often lead to underapplying downforce pressure in areas of the field where soil is harder or more compacted. This leads to disk openers riding on top of, or partially in, the soil causing undesirable […] Read more

Mycorrhizal linkage to crop plants in normal soils have been shown to supply phosphate, copper and zinc to growing crops.

Facts about phosphorus you should know

Highly-manured soils, wet growing conditions and lodging in cereal crops

Phosphorus or phosphate (P) is the most complex of the big four macronutrients in crop production. When you buy phosphate fertilizer, you are actually buying P2O5 the oxidized version, which is 62 parts actual P and 80 parts oxygen. Your actual P is only 43 per cent by weight. The phosphate in all soils is […] Read more